Amid all the excitement and brouhaha about Brian Cowan’s elevation to Taoiseach last week, I loved the headline in The Nenagh Guardian newspaper which screamed: ‘North Tipperary schoolboy Cowan elected Taoiseach’.

One can only admire the bravado of our colleagues in The Guardian for staking their claim to the Offaly man and there were two photographs of the Taoiseach, one in rugby gear and one in casual clothes, when he was a secondary school pupil at the Cistercian College in Roscrea.

Technically, the newspaper is correct, Mr. Cowan was a schoolboy in the North Tipperary school but I imagine his home county supporters won’t be too long in reminding their Tipperary friends that the Roscrea Cistercian College is actually a couple of hundred yards over the border on, whisper it not, Offaly soil. Somehow, I don’t think we have heard the last of this one because the Offaly/Tipperary border issue is no less contentious than our own Waterford/Kilkenny arguments.

Moyross bandwagon trundles on

A couple of weeks ago, in this column, we spoke of how an urban myth had swept the country about troublesome families from Moyross in Limerick being relocated to other parts of the country.

There were reports from as far apart as Galway, Kildare and Waterford that hoards of Limerick families were about to descend upon them until the officials at the Regeneration Project in Moyross stated categorically that there was absolutely no truth in such rumours. If anything, said the officials, they were trying to get families back into Moyross not send them elsewhere.

But, and conspiracy theorists will love this, Limerick City Council admitted last week that it has purchased 17 houses in Clare. A spokesperson for the City Council confirmed that the houses had been purchased over the last two years. She pointed out that the local authority was free to purchase housing ‘inside or outside the Limerick border’ but refused to say where the houses were located or who would be living in them.

The Mayor of Clare, Councillor Patricia McCarthy, said she was very concerned about the revelation and insisted that if strengthened criteria was introduced for the Moyross regeneration area then the same standards should apply to any persons given houses in Clare by Limerick City Council. Mayor McCarthy said she would be particularly worried if all the houses were located in the same area of County Clare and that was a view echoed by her council colleague, Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Limerick-based Chairman of the Munster Executive of Republican Sinn Fein, Mr. Des Long, admonished Limerick City Council for purchasing the houses and said that exporting those involved in anti-social behaviour by stealth to Clare was no solution to Limerick’s housing problems. Of course, the Limerick local authority could have purchased the homes for any number of reasons other than housing families from Moyross but it would appear that, at present, nobody wants to accept that.


Multiculturalism on the hold mountain

If people ever doubted the growth of multiculturalism in this country, they should have been on Croagh Patrick last week. Friends of mine who were spending a few days up the West visited the holy mountain and were somewhat taken aback to meet a Donegal-based Buddhist Monk, Lebsang Wangchuck, nearing the summit.

It seems he was just one of hundreds of people who took part in a ‘protest climb’ against China’s decision to carry the Beijing Olympic Torch to the summit of Mount Everest. The march was led by Mr. Namgyal Damdul, Chairman of the Tibetan Community in Ireland, who carried a symbolic freedom torch to the summit. An earlier ceremony included Christian and Buddhist prayers, traditional Irish music and songs and a dance by a group of Karen Burmese refugees.

The angels at CIT

College students have long endured, or maybe that should be ‘enjoyed’, a reputation as partygoers and hell raisers but, according to a survey taken in Carlow Institute of Technology, the students there must be the best behaved in the country.

The survey was conducted by the County Carlow Drugs Initiative and almost 70 per cent said that smoking killed and, consequently, they didn’t do tobacco. Almost 90 per cent said they had not smoked marijuana within a 30-day period with most said they had never smoked it; 62 per cent of students said they only drank alcohol once a week and 52 per cent said they firmly believed that drinking in moderation was best. The delighted people from the Drugs Initiative said they were encouraged by the findings which showed that college students did not drink, smoke or take drugs even half as much as people thought.

Unfortunately, not everybody took the survey findings at face value and local journalist Mairead Wilmot threw a spanner in the works when she wrote that she simply did not believe the survey findings. “Perhaps”, says the Carlow Nationalist reporter to the dismay of many, “the students at Carlow IT are all saints in the making but anybody who believes those figures are out of their minds on self-righteousness.” Bloody reporters, they never have a good word about anybody.

Bizarre but perfectly true!

The following is bizarre but perfectly true because you couldn’t make it up. One night the weekend before last, gardai in Newbridge arrested a man for drunkenness. The man wasn’t too happy about having his collar felt and he protested to gardai that he was on a night out with his friend and they were not bothering anybody.


When the puzzled gardai asked him where his friend was, the man produced his pet rat out of his pocket and, according to the report, the rat might also have had some drink taken. Either way, the gardai refused to allow the rat to accompany the drunk into the station and the rodent was invited to wait outside for its master. Surprise, surprise, the rat was nowhere to be found later when his pal went looking for him


A spokesperson at Newbridge Garda Station said he couldn’t shed any light on the rat’s whereabouts. “All I can say is that the man wasn’t allowed to take the rat into the station and the animal sort of disappeared.”


And speaking of drink and drunkenness, the makers of Bailey’s Irish Cream won’t be too happy with comments made by Judge James O’Connor in Castleisland District Court. A local publican was before the court charged with permitting drunkenness on his premises. The evidence was quite convoluted but there was a woman involved who was drinking Bailey’s and Judge O’Connor said he had no doubt that the lady got served ‘one way or the other’ and was on the premises ‘ossified and as drunk as a coot’. He also said that the barperson on duty should have realised that ‘Bailey’s was a not a drink of gentlemen’.